How to Upgrade your Windows 7/8/8.1 to Windows 10 for Free
As you might already know, Microsoft is very close to the official launch of its latest version of Windows operating system (on July 29, 2015). Windows 10 will come with many great features, including the improved Start menu, design, Cortana voice assistant, a new web browser (Edge) that will replace the old Internet Explorer, DirectX 12 and more. Microsoft also stated that this will be the last version of their OS with following releases of updates and other improvements.
If you are a licensed user of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1, then you are lucky, because you can upgrade your old operating system to the new Windows 10 for free (well, at least for a year), instead of paying $199. Also, if you don't want to wait until the release date, you can try the technical preview (basically, a beta version) which you can easily download via the Windows Insider program (which I will describe below).
Reserve a free copy of Windows 10
If you decide to upgrade your old operating system to the new Windows 10 (why not?), then, all you have to do is simply reserve a free copy using the new Get Windows 10 app. The update will be available on July 29, 2015, but you'll be able to decide upon the installation date for yourself. To reserve the copy, simply click on the small Windows icon from your system tray (view image above), click on the "Reserve your free upgrade" button and just wait for the official release date. You can also provide your email address if you want to get the confirmation letter or cancel your reservation at any desired time.
On July 29, 2015, you will receive a notification that will tell you that Windows 10 has been downloaded on your PC and is ready to be installed.
Join the Windows Insider program
If you are curious about the new features of Windows 10 and don't want to wait until the official release (like I was), then you can easily get your hands on a free technical preview, which is, basically, a constantly updated beta version.
First, you will have to join the Windows Insider program using your Microsoft account. Once you do that, you will receive an ISO (disc image) file containing your free copy of Windows 10 Technical Preview. You can burn the file to a DVD or a USB flash drive and install it on your PC or use it with your favorite virtual machine.
Windows 10 Technical Preview installation process
If you don't know how to install Windows or just want to avoid any possible mistakes (although the chances for mistakes are very small), then I will describe the process below. Basically, all you have to do is click the "Next" button over and over again while selecting the desired settings.
After burning your Windows 10 disc image file to a bootable DVD or USB flash drive, restart your computer and follow the on-screen instructions (press any key to begin setup).
From the first window that will appear, choose the desired language, keyboard input type and click "Next".
Click on the "Install Now" button.
Now you are given two options: either upgrade your existing operating system to Windows 10 tech preview or install a fresh copy. In case you are using a virtual machine to test the new OS or want to install a fresh copy without changing any of the previous settings, then you should select the "Custom" option.
Next, you select the drive where Windows 10 will be installed. You can either choose an already existing disk partition (which you should format) or create a new one. Once you have selected the partition, click on the "Next" button again.
Wait for the installation to finish (it should take somewhere around 10-20 minutes, depending on your computer's specs)
After the installation is over, your system will reboot. Then you can begin the customizing your operating system. If you are familiar with most of the Windows features, you can click on the "Custom" button and select which options you want to be enabled. Otherwise, simply use the "Express Settings" and continue.
Sign into your Microsoft account. It is highly recommended that you to do that, as you won't be able to use many of the new Windows 10 features otherwise (which is the point of installing the technical preview, isn't it?)
Choose if you want to copy the settings and Windows Store apps from another PC or use it as a new PC and test all the new features without importing any previous settings.
Wait for your settings to be applied (a colorful screen will appear) and start exploring the new Windows 10 features. Do not forget to try out the new Cortana voice assistant.
Even if you are a hardcore fan of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1, or you have read bad reviews and checked out forums where users don't recommend Windows 10, you might want, at least, to test it out for yourself and make your own opinion. After all, it doesn't take much time to install the new OS.
The free reservation of the Windows 10 is only available for users that have a genuine copy of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8/8.1.